One student in 10 in the University of Chicago Law School’s next three incoming classes will graduate without the burden of education loans because of a serially generous donor.
Financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein has given $10 million to his alma mater to support as many as 60 full-ride scholarships during the next three years (equal to approximately 10 percent of each class).
This marks the second time that Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity firm The Carlyle Group and a University of Chicago trustee, has given that amount to the law school. The last time was in 2010, to establish the Rubenstein Scholars Program, which offered merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to students for the past three years. At the time, it was the largest donation in the law school’s history. This new gift renews that program.
“David’s generosity is absolutely extraordinary, and his gift has been transformative,” dean Michael Schill said. “Three years ago, when David proposed this idea, we all hoped that it would enable us to attract the top law school applicants in the nation to Chicago. With three years of experience under our belt, I can say without hesitation that it has succeeded magnificently.”
Rubenstein graduated from the law school in 1973, the beneficiary of a full scholarship that he said allowed him to leave a law firm practice after two years to pursue his interest in politics. He worked as chief counsel to a Senate subcommittee before becoming a deputy domestic policy assistant in the Carter administration.
“When scholars graduate without debt they are free to apply their skills and labor to pursuits they might otherwise have bypassed, such as public service,” Rubenstein said in announcing his gift. “I am excited to see the great things these students do in their careers over time.”
Forbes magazine has estimated Rubenstein’s net worth at $2.6 billion, and he has made transformative donations to a number of universities and Washington institutions. He gave $50 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this year to construct addition to its building; $7.5 million last year to repair the Washington Monument; and $4.5 million to the National Zoo in 2011 for a panda reproduction program.